In my opinion, the public’s perception of entrepreneurship is skewed. News stories on entrepreneurship often give inordinate focus to ‘buzzy’ businesses whose size and disruptive force threaten to upend whole industries. Every article seems to be about well-funded giants that wish to change the way everything is done. To me, and a lot of entrepreneurs, it can feel overwhelming.
Any thorough examination of modern entrepreneurship will show the field more differentiated, creative, and well-meaning than the public imagines it to be. How do I know this? Because I listen to podcasts!
No, really. In no place is the complexity and diversity of entrepreneurship more evident than in the wide variety of podcasts that focus on them. If anyone interested were to pick just a few from my long list of favorites, they would have no doubts about how modern entrepreneurship can be big, small, disruptive, traditional, and everything in between.
Entrepreneurship podcasts have taught me that what really links entrepreneurs of all types is the drive to create something new. They build businesses, make money (of course), and reach for their goals as ethically and responsibly as possible.
Businesses Big and Small
One of the wisest lessons you can take from business podcasts is that there are many entrepreneurs whose goals are greater than endless growth. Many wish to simply provide an excellent product or service, and often do some good as well.
Monocle: The Entrepreneurs, a podcast from the Monocle 24 radio network and offshoot of the eponymous magazine, examines many of these types of creatives, usually in punchy, individualized interviews of the entrepreneurs themselves. And all in less than thirty minutes.
A recent episode featured a new sunglasses brand from Australia, Good Citizens, started by a dad after his two young sons grew concerned about the dangers of plastic pollution. He began a business that recycles plastic bottles into classic, stylish sunglasses and has seen great success, all while keeping waste to an absolute minimum. I bought a pair right after listening to the episode (and don’t be surprised if you do, too!).
Monocle: The Entrepreneurs is a podcast where I’ve found myself saying “That’s a great idea!” more often than not. Another Monocle podcast, Monocle on Design, focuses (of course) on the creative and design aspects of a business.
I love all things Monocle, but this podcast, in particular, dials into designers and the design community around the world through an inspirational (if Eurocentric) view. And it demonstrates to me how there is so much more to entrepreneurship than just trying to make money.
For example, a recent episode focused on the design scene in Lisbon and Porto, Portugal. It made me want to jump on a plane and go check it out! The entrepreneurs profiled were small artisans, focused on traditional crafts and production methods, producing fine ceramics and woodworking products. For them, entrepreneurship is much more about keeping things small and high-quality to better serve their customers’ needs.
Specifics and Universals in Business
This myriad of stories tells me that the more specific the experience of the entrepreneur is, the more universal the lessons and advice they provide will be.
The Woodtrepreneur demonstrates this truth. This authentic, down-to-earth podcast features the host interviewing a small business owner in the wood industry each week. They discuss in-depth the problems, simple mistakes, and perseverance to start and run a business related to wood.
You might think this kind of podcast wouldn’t be of interest to anyone outside of the woodworking hobby and industry, but you’d be wrong. The discussion itself is interesting, and the host will often finish an episode by asking the week’s guest to present a marketing or business challenge they’re dealing with. They will discuss possible solutions to the problem.
This goes whether the guest is running a full-time business, or just making money woodworking as a side job. Even if you’re not interested in ‘woodtrepreneurship’, the issues addressed by the podcast are worth the time of anyone in business.
Another podcast focusing on the experiences of a wide range of entrepreneurs is How I Built This, an NPR podcast hosted by Guy Raz. The stories are interesting and inspirational, and clarify each business’ mission and issues for the understanding of budding and existing entrepreneurs.
How I Built This, along with the venerable NPR business news podcast Planet Money, presents economic and entrepreneurship news from unusual, sometimes outsider perspectives. They are great places to learn new, unexpected lessons about business.
The Complex Experiences of Entrepreneurs
What is remarkable about entrepreneurship podcasts are the vast resources available to both the general public and experienced entrepreneurs alike. The choices are so expansive that pretty much any aspect of a business I can think of will have at least a few podcasts regularly discussing its news and issues.
The Nomad Capitalist, for example, provides a great deal of insight into the complications of international business and entrepreneurship on a global scale. It gives a wonderful insight into the policies of business-friendly countries, explores the complications of international tax obligations, and provides a good intro to the cryptocurrency phenomenon.
Masters in Business from Bloomberg, while a little too U.S.-centric for me, is still a great look into the world of finance, often interviewing experts whose insights can illuminate the more complicated aspects of current business conditions.
For me, the advantage of exploring the world of entrepreneurship through podcasts is the wide range of options available. I’m always learning things that I can apply to my own entrepreneurial efforts; innovative strategies, creative ideas, unexpected inspiration.
One of the wisest things I’ve heard in a podcast about entrepreneurship was from the episode about the above-mentioned dad making sunglasses from recycled bottles. It took hundreds and hundreds of prototypes to get the process right, but when he had it, he had it.
He stated that, in entrepreneurship, naiveté is a wonderful thing. If people knew every problem they’d face trying to start and run a business, they’d never do it. But there are always smart, driven, creative people out there, willing to take those chances. That’s the spirit of entrepreneurship.
By Jacob Baranski | Founder of Hartman Projects.
About the author
Jacob Baranski is a passionate entrepreneur and an ardent supporter of sustainable growth companies. A lifelong learner, he believes in investing in himself and fostering relationships on a foundation of mutual trust and respect. Jacob regularly practices yoga and meditation.